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chasineyes

Septic Systems

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Does anyone have any thoughts, tips, advice for a buying a cabin with HOLDING tanks?  We are about to purchase a small cabin in Park Rapids and it has a 1500 gallon holding tank no drainfield.  Any major issues anyone can think of?  I realize it cannot be used as a fulltime residence and would require more frequent pumping.  Thoughts??

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A holding tank is just another accepted form of septic.  They can be used for seasonal or year round places.  You should not have any issues.  The only issue to watch for would be to make sure you do not have ground water leaking into it which would increase the number of times you would need to have it pumped out.  

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We have run one at our cabin for many many years with no issue.  Only thing I would recommend is to check with the count.  They don't all like them.  Before we are able to do any further major changes to our lot/cabin we will have to replace ours with an actual septic, but if you dont plan to do that it should work great for you. We have a slightly smaller tank that gets used pretty much every weekend and it only gets dumped yearly or so.

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Downside is that it is an additional expense to have it pumped, and you will need to watch the water usage.  Toilets, shower, etc.  Low flow.  No washing machine or one that uses very little water etc. 

On the other hand putting in a real septic is pretty expensive. 

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Agree with Del. Watch water usage could fill the 1500 gal. tank in a week if you have kids taking showers. Typical pumping cost is $150 to $200 in East Bethel. I did my septic in 2008 for $6,800, but was with someone I have known for 30 years who did all my excavation work. You need to do a Perk test and have enough space at a state defined set-back before you can put a septic in. Could be in the $10k range with a mound system.

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My mother in law in the Wisconsin north woods had one installed some years back after the septic failed so she could get by and then she had one installed in her new home when she moved to a spot of property she owns closer to my brother in law. For her it works because she lives alone and watches her usage and it was much less expensive than a full septic. I think it's about 150 dollars to have it emptied so you can do that a lot of times before it gets more expensive than a septic and drain field and less worries about it freezing up in the winter

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1 hour ago, papadarv said:

Agree with Del. Watch water usage could fill the 1500 gal. tank in a week if you have kids taking showers. Typical pumping cost is $150 to $200 in East Bethel. I did my septic in 2008 for $6,800, but was with someone I have known for 30 years who did all my excavation work. You need to do a Perk test and have enough space at a state defined set-back before you can put a septic in. Could be in the $10k range with a mound system.

Yes, due to the setbacks and closeness to the lake, they were not able to do a standard system with a drainfield.  The good news is I have really nice lakeacces/shore however this is the drawback.  But since I'm not a millionaire its what we will deal with.  Either way I think I'm buying a cabin....:)  Thanks guys!!!

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Most weekend cabins dont see constant washing machines and what not.  Heck we take a bath in the lake half the time.  Go easy on the water and you should be fine.  We(a family of 4 for many years, and now a family of 6 adults, a toddler and two infants) empty our tank once a year, sometimes once every 10 months. 

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Do you know how old the tank is?  About 10 years ago we had a major project in our neighborhood and I think I remember reading that there are rules now (then?) about how old a tank can be before it has to be replaced.  I vaguely recall that 15 years was about it.  Anyone else have any knowledge on this subject?   There are also rules about how the tank is built.  Way back when I think it may have been possible to get one without a bottom.

If you are going to take out a loan the bank is going to want/demand and inspection.  Again I don't know what all that means but I would think it would be somewhat important to know what shape it is in.  I don't know what it could cost to put in a new tank but suspect it could easily hit $2K, and that assumes that current codes would allow one at that building site.

Lots of checking for you and your real estate agent IMO.

Have you checked the water to see if it is OK?  You can get that done in many areas and it is easy to find the lab near the building by doing the Google.

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Typically the requirements are online at the page of the county where the property is.  And these days I think an inspection of the tank/septic is a standard requirement.  It sure is in St Louis Co.   Can't sell without inspection and a passing grade. 

Hubbard county web site seems a little murky about requirements.  You might give them a call...

Edited by delcecchi

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